Despite Durga Puja being a good two weeks away and Diwali and Chhath falling in the second half of November, most trains are either full or have a long waiting list.
But there may be some relief for passengers. Keeping in mind the festival rush, Northern Railway has planned 1,133 trips of 39 pairs of festival special trains in October and November. As many as 21 trains will run from Delhi.
The daily footfall at New Delhi railway station is 5.5 lakh. It goes up to 7-8 lakh during the festival season. The daily footfall at all major stations in Delhi is 9-10 lakh. This goes up to 12 lakh in October and November.
"Announcement of such special trains is an ongoing process. On Monday, we announced a tri-weekly festival special train between Anand Vihar in Delhi and Gaya in Bihar. More such trains will be planned as we get close to the festivals," said a senior Northern Railway official.
As many as 20 of these 39 pairs will be run by Northern Railway, while 19 by other zones but under Northern Railway's jurisdiction. These trains will run between various cities such as Delhi, Jammu, Varanasi, Lucknow, Patna, Amritsar, Firozpur, Ambala, Ludhiana, Gaya, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Kolkata, Allahabad, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bikaner, Nagpur and Bareilly.
"We have added about 100 coaches in around 50 major, long-distance trains to accommodate maximum passengers. Only those trains already running with 24 coaches — the maximum capacity — cannot be augmented further," the official said. "The focus is on ensuring hassle-free purchase of tickets by cracking down on touts. We're setting up additional ticket counters. Greater security and better amenities are our primary concerns," said another senior official.